Drunk driving crash leads to fight amongst passengers, arrests

By Tanya Mitchell | Jul 12, 2013
Source: File image

Belfast — Police made two arrests after investigating a one-car crash on High Street early Friday morning, July 12, an incident that led to a physical fight involving the two male passengers in the vehicle.

Jessie Knowlton, 23, of Swanville, and 22-year-old Mark Smith, of Belfast, were arrested after the crash. Knowlton was arrested on a charge of operating under the influence, while Smith was arrested on charges of disorderly conduct and refusing to submit to arrest or detention.

Belfast Police Chief Mike McFadden said the accident occurred at about 12:30 a.m. at what is commonly referred to as the "clover leaf," or the off-ramp from Route 1 to High Street near Belfast Variety.

McFadden said the initial report was that the vehicle had struck a guardrail, and Officers Roy Smith, Brian Lunt and Brad Hansen responded to the scene. Shortly after the officers' arrival, McFadden said all three occupants in the vehicle, including Knowlton and Smith, showed signs of intoxication.

Following an investigation at the scene, police determined Knowlton was behind the wheel at the time of the crash and placed her under arrest.

That's when McFadden said Smith became agitated with the second male passenger in the vehicle.

"He engaged the subject in a physical altercation," said McFadden of Smith. "He didn't respond to the verbal commands of the officers."

The officers had to physically restrain Smith to take him into custody, but neither of the officers suffered serious injury as a result of the struggle.

Belfast ambulance and fire crews also responded to the scene, and while Knowlton complained of pain in her chest area, McFadden said she refused treatment from medical personnel.

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